Thursday, April 09, 2015

Starting a Book, Part Two: To Outline or Not to Outline?

Once I’ve answered some fundamental questions about my characters and possible events in my story (see previous blog post), I write a synopsis, a third-person telling of the story in the present tense.  Hopefully that leads to a sale, and I get to write the book.  Often, that's all I have when I start the first draft.  
I don't usually outline because I want to dive into my story.  I also like feeling free to change course and direction, to let my characters take me places I didn’t foresee.  That said, I'm also prepared to do a lot of revising, because sometimes those changes and directions don't work.
     But nothing about my process is ever carved in stone.  I’ve done a very long outline for the book I’m working on at the moment.  The first drafts of my last two manuscripts were very short, and I’m hoping to avoid that with an outline.  However, even with an outline, changes have occurred to the story and characters.  A character I thought was going to be a major secondary character started to fade into the background, and a character only added to the outline took precedence.  And suddenly, there was a thunderstorm I didn't plan on but certainly adds some tension.
     Will these things stay that way?  Maybe, maybe not.
     That's what makes writing so much fun for me. Like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, I'm never sure what I'm gonna get.  Or if I'm gonna keep it.
      Even if I outline.

Next Blog Post - Starting a Book, Part Three:  Chapter One, Page One

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